Updated: Mar 1
It has been ONE YEAR. One whole year since I got engaged. Of course it just happened to be one of the quickest + yet one of the longest years of my life. 2020 went by in a flash + it really is so hard to believe that a year ago I watched David get down on one knee in front of me.
But, here we are + I thought, for memories sake, I would relive the most magical day of my life + record it here on the internet for the rest of eternity. Because, what better way to solidify your romantic life experiences than by typing them into a blog post?
February 27th, 2020 was a Thursday.
I was promptly woken up at 3:30 AM to the ever-so-gentle, pre-programmed iPhone alarm.
I always prided myself on being a quote unquote "morning person", but the sun was no where to be seen + I still held the belief that anything before 5 AM was to be considered unGodly.
Nevertheless, I rolled out of bed + began a simple routine of throwing last minute items into my suitcase, zipping it up + slipping on a pair of comfortable shoes.
David + I had been on many trips before. In fact, we actually met in a country on the other side of the world (a story for another day). But, this trip was different. I had no idea where we were going.
I was told, roughly, a month prior to mark off an extended weekend at the end February from my work calendar. At the time, I didn't question anything. I was busy, a common occurrence in my life. I quickly penciled off the weekend + returned to my work without questions. Convenient.
We loaded into the car in the dark. Suitcases, backpacks, camera bag (of course) + we headed out. Our first stop was Hardee's for an early morning breakfast. I was told I needed to eat something - again.. not unusual. David drove down the interstate for only a few minutes before he gave a frustrated sigh...
"I forgot something.. I have to turn around."
He took a road that led back toward the direction of our house. But, he missed the exit.. This was unusual. David is a very good driver. He always pays attention + never misses turns. But, it was also 5 AM + he probably was just tired....
He kept driving toward the airport. We live, quite literally, 5 minutes from the airport. So, I just assumed he was looking for a safe place to turn around. He turned into the airport parking lot + pulled into a parking spot.
At this point, I feel it's necessary to say that, I am extremely gullible + not fantastic at predicting the future... even when obvious signs are presented to me. But, especially at unGodly hours of the morning.
"What we are doing?" I asked as he put the car in park.
"We have a flight at 5:30 AM + actually we're late." He said as he grabbed his stuff + opened the car door to get out.
"What?" I was in shock.
We wheeled our suitcases into the airport + a thousand thoughts flooded my mind.
We were flying somewhere! How exciting. But where? And how long will it take us to get there... And why? What are we doing? But mostly, WHERE ARE WE GOING?
David didn't answer any of my questions + he wouldn't let me see the tickets or listen to the conversation between him + the airport staff. I almost felt as if we were on a secret mission or something, except the secret was kept from me instead of everyone else.
We boarded the first flight + watched hot pink sunlight fill the cabin of the plane as daylight broke above the clouds. It was short hour + a half flight + before we knew it we had landed in Charlotte, North Carolina.
David guided me through the Charlotte airport, which was significantly busier + bigger than the Huntsville one. He weaved me in + out of the traffic + past numerous gates flying to all areas of the country. Then, he paused. I looked over at the gate to a mural painted on the wall.
New York City.
My favorite place in the world.
I was living in a dream! I couldn't believe he bought us plane tickets to visit my favorite city. I severely underestimated the level of excitement this extended weekend away from work would be.. I couldn't believe I allowed myself to be so distracted that I didn't even think to pry when he asked me to mark those dates off!
New York. Here we come!
We boarded the plane with even more enthusiasm than before.
Once settled in our seats, I pulled out my phone to show David a photo I had seen recently on Instagram. It was a classic New York City skyline photo.
"I don't care what we do here, I just really want to get this photo! That is the only thing I care about."
David casually glanced at the photo, "Yeah, I think we can make that happen."
A few hours later we landed at the JFK airport + found our way to an Uber that took us straight to where we were staying. Turns out, dating a Sagittarius has it's MAJOR perks because David hooked us up with a suite in the Intercontinental New York Barclay. A luxury Midtown hotel in the heart of the city that has been around since 1926...
We got a room with a view of the city streets. A giant king sized bed + a polished black + white checkered bathroom. It was like a NYC fairytale. I was still completely in shock.
We explored the nearby city, shopping + casually walking the streets, getting acquainted with the harmonious uninterrupted music that is the big apple.
Our last stop of the day was our favorite authentic Italian pizza place. A famous hole-in-the-wall called Prince Street Pizza. It really is the best slice we have ever had + we've had a lot of slices..
After a long + surprising travel day we decided it would be best to take our prized dinner back to the comfort of our suite for an early night in. David told me I should be ready to leave by 9AM tomorrow. Another surprise? What more could this man possibly have up his sleeve??
February 28, 2020
I woke up with an hour to go, giving myself plenty of time for all the necessary prepping. Makeup, hair, outfit, camera. Check, check, check. David followed, carefully spending time to look his best. + we were off!
Once again, he was weaving me in + out of the foot traffic, around corners + down streets. It was particularly windy + with it being late February in a northern state, quite cold.
I found myself standing at the bottom of the Rockefeller Center. This was the building that would get me THAT PHOTO. The one I showed David not even 24 hours ago! How did he know?? I was so excited + again, surprised.
Not only that, but David managed to secure VIP tickets that allowed us to skip the lines + go straight up to the very top of the building. When we got up there, David suggested we save the best view for last + we went left, looking at a 360 degree view of the city I love so much. It was incredible + I was truly taken aback by the vastness of it all.
I took photos, looked through stationary binoculars + we even got caught in a slight wind tunnel that made us laugh so hard because both of our hair was flying off our heads as if never belonged there to begin with. It was just pure happiness.
We finally reached the right side of the building, looking out toward the most incredible view I have ever seen. New York City was staring me right in the face + from a distance I had never known. The Empire State Building looking right back at me. It was like a living postcard. I snapped my iconic photo.
David wrapped his arm around me as we watched tiny, nearly microscopic taxis inching their way through streets below. The city covered in a warm blanket of brown earthy tones. Even though it was far disconnected to the natural earth world, it still breathed the same. Choas was it's rhythm + somehow it felt the same as a watching a waterfall.
David turned to me + held me + told me how much he loves me. I heard the all-too-familar sound of a camera shutter + I instantly knew what was coming. I whipped off my glass (I hate being photographed in them) + watched David slowly lower onto one knee in front of me.
I can't believe this is happening. All of a sudden I had no breath. My hands flew to my face in disbelief...
I wish I could tell you word for word, exactly what he said to me. But, even if I had typed this 5 minutes after it happened, I still wouldn't be able to articulate it. I blacked out. I was just TOO happy.
He asked me to spend the rest of my life with him + I could hardly get an audible "yes" to leave my lips. So I nodded gently behind streaming tears + bent down to give him a kiss.
I have never felt more beautiful. I have never felt more special.
He put the most beautiful sparkling diamond ring on my hand + it was official! A FIANCE. I had a fiancé. I was ENGAGED. To my favorite person in the world in my favorite place in the world. Nothing could possibly be better!
Turns out that camera shutter sound was a professional photographer that David hired to capture the moment. He introduced me to her, "You know her!". I had followed Amanda Vaelynn on Instgram for quite some time + David managed to find her account after searching "New York City Photographer". He fell in love with one of her photos + clicked on her account only to find that I had liked every single one of her photos - clearly, she was the one!
After drying my tears + cleaning up the mascara smudges under my eyes, Amanda toured us around the surrounding New York areas for more photos together. We visited Grand Central Station + got photos in front of cabs lining the streets. It was so much fun to be on the other side of the camera for once + to celebrate such a fantastic moment.
After our photoshoot with Amanda, we stopped into a fancy brunch spot under a bridge outside of Grand Central Station. We ordered mimosas + toasted to our new + exciting future together. David told me the story of how he asked my dad permission. My dad was the first person to learn about David's plan + that truly meant a lot to me. He told my mom + his mom + his brother, John, but other than that it was a surprise to everyone else.
We couldn't wait to share the news with all our friends + family. We collected drinks from the bar at the hotel + set up chairs in front of the windows of our room. We spent the next hour or so calling + FaceTiming everyone we knew to share the news. The excited responses + love we received was unmatched + we felt like we were on top of the world!
The next few days consisted of city exploring, coffee shop hoping, museums + car shows + celebrating in bars with friends. Our good friends, Rachel + Hunter live in New York + we made plans to meet up with them. Rachel + I even split the cost of a plane ticket to fly our other bestie, Bri, up from Colorado. We had to have her there to celebrate! It was the icing on the cake.
But the fun wasn't over.... David had one more surprise up his sleeve.
The day after we got engaged, we woke up + drove across the city to yet another unknown destination. The Uber dropped us off in front of a building in what felt like the middle of nowhere.
"We're going on a doors-off helicopter ride." David told me.
A HELICOPTER?! I flashed backed to a moment when I had jokingly brushed off the incredible proposal plans + told David, "It's not like you took me in a helicopter or something". It was the most ridiculous thing I could come up with at the time. I was completely joking.... But this man LITERALLY had tickets to take me in a helicopter..
I was beyond excited. The specific trip he had booked allowed me to bring my camera + get amazing shots of the city without the obstruction of the doors in the way.
We took a brief safety class + strapped into our harnesses. We loaded into the helicopter, David sitting in front of me, we lifted off the ground.
We flew over Central Park + passed the Statue of Liberty. I swear I would have never been able to see the incredible detail of her face so upclose + in person.. The views were unreal + the city looked like legos from so far up. The breathing life that was so apparent from the Rockefeller was now silenced from the distance. The taxis + busses were mere specks + the buildings were tiny squares from above.
Needless to say, this was the most spectacular weekend of my life + I am so blessed to have such an incredible man put forth this amount of planning + effort just to ask me one simple question..
It was an unbeatable proposal, completely unique to our relationship + our love for travel. Hard to believe it has been a year, but the story lives on + new adventures are on their way. Just three short months until we say "I do" + I cannot wait.
xoxo - Amandalyn